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  3. Privacy Law and Social Networks

Privacy Law and Social Networks (BLAW20002)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeBLAW20002
Summer Term
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The limited protection of privacy for those who engage with online social networks has provoked a range of policy and law reform debates. This subject will delve deeply into the question of privacy law and social networks in an effort to explain and critique the current legal position as well as considering a range of proposals for improvements in the law.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • Introduction: privacy in a networked environment;
  • precursors: publication of diaries, letters, biographies, newspapers, photography, cinema, telephone, video and the rise of privacy;
  • traditional legal responses: the development of common law and statutory doctrines dealing with aspects of privacy protection (not always explicitly);
  • post-war pockets of specialised 'sui generis' laws including data protection, consumer protection, surveillance laws, and accompanying institutional innovations;
  • modern trends and controversies: rise of an online networked society and challenges to privacy, problems of multi-jurisdictional laws; and
  • imagining the future - what will be the role of law (and will it have a role)?

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Recognise that privacy and social networks have various legal connection points;
  • appreciate the multiple ways in which privacy may be constrained and protected by the law, including in the context of social networks; and
  • understand the basic features of the legal treatment of privacy specifically in the context of social networks.

Generic skills

On completion of the subject the student should have:

  • Capacity for self-directed learning, specifically the ability to plan work and use time effectively;
  • cognitive and analytical skills;
  • the ability to speak about complex ideas in a clear and cogent manner;
  • an awareness of diversity and plurality;
  • write essays which develop structured argumentation; and
  • capacity to judge the worth of their own arguments.

Last updated: 11 October 2019